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New Delhi: At an event on Sunday, khap leaders from Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan got together to present traditional headgear to Rashtriya Lok Dal leader Jayant Chaudhary. This, The Hindu reported, was meant to portray that they formally recognise him as continuing Chaudhary Charan Singh’s legacy.
Held in Chaprauli in Uttar Pradesh’s Baghpat district, the rasam pagdi was also intended to be Jayant’s official initiation as RLD chief, after his father and former party head Ajit Singh passed away in May due to COVID-19.
According to the Times of India, the event was attended by leader of at least 36 khaps and Bharatiya Kisan Union head Naresh Tikait. Tikait is also the head of the Balyan khap. At the event, he reiterated the call that protesting farmers had been making – that people must not vote for the Bharatiya Janata Party,
Giving a short speech, The Hindu reported, Chaudhary thanked people for the faith they were reposing in him. “This headgear, your blessings would act as an armour in facing any situation,” he said.
“The most important thing for me is maintaining Hindu-Muslim brotherhood. I will try my best that they are united,” ToI quoted him as saying.
The event was seen as a show of strength by the RLD ahead of the UP assembly elections scheduled for next year. At least one of the khap leaders present – Rajendra Singh of the Gathwal khap – is perceived as being close to the BJP, and in the past had expressed his support for the government even during the farmer’s protest.
Several of the khap leaders, The Hindu reported, said that their presence at the event meant that they were pledging some allegiance to the RLD for the upcoming polls.